Renting a Car & Getting Around in the San Juan & Fajardo Areas
To really see Puerto Rico, I think you need to get out and explore. Whether you are in port for the day with a cruise ship or you’ve flown in for a couple weeks, renting a car is a great way to get around.
Renting a car gives you flexibility to go where you want on your own schedule (as opposed to taking a tour). Renting a car is also a more economical way to get around. There are loads of agencies that have all types of cars and vans, so even with a large family, you’re sure to find something that suits your needs. One note- if your car insurance covers you for rental cars, bring a copy of the declarations page of your policy. That way, you don’t have to buy their insurance.
Many Rental Companies to Choose From
All of the major national car rental companies are represented here in Puerto Rico. These companies have the advantage of being ones whose names you recognize. They all have web sites that you can use to book your rental. Additionally, there are a number of local car rental companies. You may not recognize the names of these companies, but you can often times save some money by renting from them.
As of 12/13, some of the car rental companies have counters right as you exit the baggage claim area. However, with some of them you need to take a shuttle to the company office and car lot. The shuttles all make the rounds every few minutes to the baggage claim areas. There are a few companies that are located right in the airport complex (on-site), and some are outside the airport (off-site). The companies inside the airport complex are usually priced a little higher due to convenience and an additional tax. Many of these ones are open 24 hours.
There are also a number of companies that are located in the San Juan area, but in the hotel district instead of near the airport. These may offer lower prices than places at the airport, and the smaller local places may offer a shuttle from/to the airport. These are also really convenient for people staying in the San Juan / Isla Verde / Condado area who want to rent a car for just a day or two during the middle of their vacation.
Car Rentals at the Luis Muñoz Marin Airport (SJU)
On-site at the SJU airport walk to lot in the adjacent parking deck, second floor
On-site at the SJU airport but shuttle to lot
Off-site, but still within minutes of the SJU airport
- Charlie Car Rental — 787-728-2418 —
- Cabrera — 787-791-4444 — located on Ave. Los Angeles
- Dollar — 787-791-5500 — located on Ave. Los Angeles
- Payless — 787-625-8880 — located on Ave. Los Angeles
- Target Rent A Car — 800-934-6457
Car Rentals in Isla Verde
- Allied/AAA — 787-726-7350 — located near the Howard Johnson Hotel and ESJ Towers
- Avis — 787-982-4331 — located in the Intercontinental Hotel
- Enterprise — 787-253-3724 — located in the El San Juan Hotel
- Quality Car Rental — 787-791-6350 or 787-791-3800 — located near the ESJ Towers
Car Rentals in Condado
- Avis — 787-721-4499 — located near La Concha
- Charlie Car Rental — 787-721-6525 — located near the Condado Plaza Hotel
- Enterprise — 787-722-5172 — located near the Condado Plaza Hotel
- Hertz — 787-722-7000 — located near the Radisson Ambassador Plaza Hotel
Car Rentals for Cruise Ship Passengers in Port in San Juan
For people who want to rent at the airport and then drop-off close to the cruise ships, there are a few places that offer shuttles to the cruise piers.
- Avis — 787-253-5926 — located at the SJU airport
- Charlie Car Rental — 787-728-2418 — located on Ave. Isla Verde near Walgreens
- Enterprise — 787- 253-3722 — located on Ave. Los Angeles
- Hertz — 787-791-0840 — located at the SJU airport
For cruise ship passengers in port for the day who want to rent a car close to the piers, there are a few companies that offer shuttles between the cruise piers and their rental office. But be aware that most car rental company shuttles only operate between 8am and 4pm (or so). There’s the chance that you may have to take a taxi back to your pier if you do a late drop-off.
Pan American Pier
Pier 4 in Old San Juan
Car Rentals Farther East — Fajardo & Ceiba
People taking the ferry or flying to/from Vieques or Culebra have other issues they need to consider — they usually need one-way rentals between the SJU Airport and the ferry terminal in Fajardo or the Ceiba Airport (RVR). There are a few companies that offer this, but it usually incurs an additional fee. Because of that fee, this options typically makes economical sense only if you want to use the car for at least a day or two before dropping it off. Some companies offer shuttles between their office and the ferry or RVR Airport, so you don’t have to worry about getting a taxi.
Note that you cannot take your rental car from the main island over to Culebra or Vieques with you. Doing so will violate your rental agreement.
Here is the list of car rental companies in the Fajardo/Ceiba area that offer one-way rentals. Note that these are small offices and most are only open normal business hours, typically Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm. Some are open on Sundays.
- Enterprise — 787-860-6868
- AVIS —787-605-0166 or 787-885-0505. They will pick you up at the ferry dock.
- Thrifty — 787-860-2030
Hiring a Driver Instead of Renting
If you only need a ride between the SJU Airport and the Fajardo/Ceiba areas, it would be cheaper and easier to just hire a driver and not bother with getting a rental car. You can contact these people to make an appointment for a pick-up. Ask them about making a mini-tour for you if you have a few hours to kill before your scheduled departure.
What’s the Best/Worst Company to Rent From?
We hear about car rental experiences weekly, and we have heard good things and bad things about just about every company on the list. We have used Charlie Car Rental without any issue. You just have to realize that all of these places happen on island time. Very few things will happen quickly!
For the best rates, try using a local company and call a number of places to get rate quotes. Many places do have web pages that you can use to make reservation on-line if you prefer. Also, look for coupons for the major companies in the Entertainment Book.
TIP - Get a good driving map. The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) will send you one for free (if you contact them with enough notice) or get one in person at a PRTC office (there is one right outside the SJU Airport baggage claim area) or in Old San Juan. Or you can buy one at a gas station for a couple bucks.
Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.